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How Many New Year’s Traditions Around the World Do You Know? Top 10

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New Year’s traditions around the world have familiar party elements like dancing and champagne toast at midnight. But cultures also have special traditions to bring luck and prosperity.

From the Philippines to Ecuador, people perform fun rituals on January 1st. These quirky practices use symbols to manifest fortune and new beginnings in the upcoming year Let’s explore 10 unique global customs.

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Round Shapes in the Philippines

People wear dots and circles in the Philippines on New Year’s Eve. They are decorated with coins and round fruit, representing dreams coming full circle. Circles reflect finishing the old year hopeful and starting the new one optimistic.

Break Plates in Denmark

new year's traditions around the world
Break | Smashing plates for Amber Ginsburg. Source Flickr

On New Year’s Eve in Denmark, families and friends gather old dishes and ceramics to throw at each other’s front doors. The more broken plates and dish scraps they manage to scatter at entrances, the more good fortune and luck they believe will arrive for those residents starting the new year. They turn the streets into a playful mess!

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Drop Ice Cream on the Floor in Switzerland

At New Year’s Eve parties in Switzerland, as midnight approaches, locals purposefully let melted dollops of ice cream plop onto the floor. The more stains and mess created from the dripping desserts, the more luck and general good fortune Swiss people believe will arrive in the coming year.

Wear Yellow Underwear in Bolivia

Sounds funny yet it’s considered good luck to wear yellow underwear on New Year’s Eve in Bolivia. The bright, sunny color represents hopes for prosperity, success, and positivity in twelve months. Yellow hues give Bolivians an optimistic luminance to illuminate the start of the new year.

Eat Grapes in Spain

new year's traditions around the world

Next on our list of New Year’s traditions around the world is eating grapes in Spain. At midnight in Spain on New Year’s Eve, people eat 12 grapes, representing one for each month. They believe eating them before midnight’s 12 chimes brings luck for the upcoming year. The grapes represent hopes for prosperity and health monthly.

Hang Strings of Onions in Greece

new year's traditions around the world
Onions” by oatsy40 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Entering the new year, Greeks hang strings of onions on their front doors on New Year’s Eve. The onion’s layers symbolically absorb any residual sadness or grief accumulated during the old year. Once midnight strikes, Greeks take down the onions which represent clearing away past burdens and starting fresh.

Carry Empty Luggage in Colombia

In Colombia, citizens engage in an unusual New Year’s Eve tradition. They carry empty suitcases and bags with them while walking laps around their neighborhood block. It symbolizes wishes for travel adventures, successful journeys, or new horizons to explore over the coming year. Letting go of luggage at the end represents entering the new year unburdened.

Read also: New Year for Couples: 9 Romantic Ways Black Americans Can Usher in the New

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Burn Scarecrow in Ecuador

Every New Year’s Eve in Ecuador, citizens construct life-size scarecrow puppets to represent the old year. They then gather in public bonfires across cities to burn them when midnight strikes. This represents destroying and releasing negativity, bad habits or sadness from the previous year and preparing for positive vibes into the coming year.

Make a Wish in Silence in Russia

Young male keeps eyes shut fingers mudra sign. Source Freepik

At big gatherings for New Year’s Eve in Russia, tradition calls for partygoers to pause a few minutes before midnight. This is to make an important silent wish or resolution in their heads for the upcoming year. 

It’s considered very bad luck to say your wish or goal aloud before the clock’s final chimes. It only takes the last 12 seconds into the new year to make your wish.

Eat Black-Eyed Peas in South America

Finally, a widespread traditional food in South America believed to promote good fortune in the New Year is black eyed peas. Yes, black-eyed peas. Families eat them on New Year’s Day for luck and prosperity. Other “lucky” Southern foods are collard greens, representing wealth and cornbread symbolizing gold.

These diverse cultural New Year’s traditions around the world give creative inspiration to make your holiday celebration meaningful. Blend worldwide customs to start your new year symbolizing the hopes you have.

People also read: 40 Inspiring New Year Quotes to Help Kickstart Your Plans

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Abdul Rashid Sani
Abdul Rashid Sani
Abdul Rashid Sani is a talented and experienced Growth and Content Manager with a passion for writing and building relationships. With a strong background in SEO content writing, paid search and social, and content marketing, he possesses a diverse set of skills that make him an asset to any team. In his free time, Abdul is a huge soccer fan and enjoys writing in his spare time. He is dedicated to continually improving his skills and staying up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques in his field.

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